COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces Do it for Babydog: Round 3; registration opens Tuesday, Nov. 9


CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and members of the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team held another news briefing today to update the public on the State’s latest pandemic response efforts.
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that registration will open tomorrow – Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021 – for a third round of the ​​”Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” vaccination sweepstakes, as the state continues to push the importance of vaccination to the younger population. 
“We’re going to be focusing on our kids, especially those that are 5 to 11 years old, but also those up to 18 years of age,” Gov. Justice said.
Last week, the CDC officially recommended Pfizer-BioNTech’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for use by children ages 5-11.

“This is our campaign to try to do something to incentivize our youngest, with parental approval of course, to get vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said.

“Do it for Babydog: Round 3” is open to all West Virginians, ages 5-18, who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Children ages 5-17 must have parental consent to be vaccinated and to register.

This round of the sweepstakes will feature four weeks of prize giveaways.

The giveaway schedule will begin the week of Nov. 15, before taking a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. Giveaways will resume the week of Nov. 29 and continue through the week of Dec. 6 and the week of Dec. 13.

The giveaway will include the following prizes each week:
  • 25 Prizes of a $10,000 Educational Savings Fund
  • 100 Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Licenses
  • 1 Grand Prize Educational Savings Fund for a student
  • 1 Grand Prize check and party for a school

Weeks 1-3
  • Student: One student per week will receive a $50,000 Educational Savings Fund.
  • School: One school per week will receive a $50,000 check and will host a party with Gov. Justice and Babydog. These events will include an on-site vaccine clinic and opening remarks by a doctor to talk about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Week 4
  • Student: One student will receive a $100,000 Educational Savings Fund.
  • School: One school will receive a $100,000 check and will host a special holiday party with Santa (Gov. Justice) and his reindeer (Babydog) bringing presents for students. This event will also include an on-site vaccine clinic and opening remarks by a doctor to talk about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
The Educational Savings Fund prizes will be in the form of a 529 plan, managed by the State Treasurer’s Office, which will be invested and grow over time. The fund can be used for any educational-related expenses, not just higher education. 

*Those who previously registered for Round 1 and/or Round 2 of the vaccination sweepstakes are required to register again to be eligible for Round 3*

Rules, frequently asked questions, and other information will be posted to the Do it for Babydog website later today. 
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice was joined in-person by State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh, who noted the significant gap between the number of West Virginians who have only received their initial series of COVID-19 vaccination shots versus those who have more recently received a booster shot.
“We’ve had about 550,000 or so West Virginians over 50 years old who’ve been fully vaccinated, but only about 45,000 third doses – booster doses – that have been given. That is a big difference,” Dr. Marsh said. “We know that people that have been vaccinated over six months ago, particularly people over 50 years old, don’t have nearly the same immune protection as they did immediately after their vaccines and over the first two to four months.

“So we really implore everybody who is six months out from your second vaccine if you got Pfizer or Moderna, or two months out if you got Johnson & Johnson, to please get a booster,” Dr. Marsh continued. “We need you to be fully immune to reduce the spread of COVID 19 in West Virginia.”

“That should be the headline of every news story,” Gov. Justice said. “If you’ve only gotten two doses of the vaccine, and you’re six months out from your last dose, it’s almost no value. So what does that tell you? You better run to get your booster shot.

“If you’re worried about getting your booster shot from the standpoint that you may feel a little bit funky for a day or so, do you realize what the people who are lying in an ICU unit in our hospitals would give, right this moment, to have have a choice of getting a shot and maybe, for a day or two, feel a little bit strange,” Gov. Justice continued. “I sit here and read name after name of people who would give anything to have the chance that you have, right now, to get your shot.”
During his remarks, Dr. Marsh added that the latest medical data is now indicating that up to 85-90% of people would need to be vaccinated in order to avoid COVID-19 becoming endemic; something that resurfaces every year.

“We are still far away from that number in West Virginia and in this country, so it’s really critical that people take the right precautions,” Dr. Marsh said. “Get tested if you’re sick, consider wearing a mask indoors if you’re vulnerable. But please get your booster dose, or your primary and secondary dose of the vaccine. That’s the way we’ll get out of this.”

Per the CDC, eligible individuals now may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

If you are eligible for the booster shot, you can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with your vaccination card to receive the booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.
On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 6,318 active cases of COVID-19 statewide; down by 514 cases since the Governor’s previous briefing on Friday last week.

The active case count is down by 23,426 since peaking in mid-September, dropping by 78.8% in that time.

COVID-19 Dashboard |

Meanwhile, the state continues to see a steady downward trend in the number of severe COVID cases.

The number of hospitalizations, patients in ICUs, and patients on ventilators have all dropped between 34.1% and 51.8% since peaking in the final week of September.

The number of hospitalizations is now 536; down by 49 over the past week. Since peaking at 1,012, hospitalizations have dropped by 476 (47.0%).

The number of patients in ICUs is now 195; up by eight over the past week. Despite the slight increase, since peaking at 296, the number of patients in ICUs has dropped overall by 101 (34.1%).

The number of patients on ventilators is now 94; down by 21 over the past week. Since peaking at 195, the number of patients on ventilators has dropped by 101 (51.8%).

The County Alert System map now features seven green counties, five yellow counties, nine gold counties, 22 orange counties, and 12 red counties.
Gov. Justice also reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 42 school outbreaks in 19 counties with 636 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)
Also Monday, Gov. Justice once again discussed President Joe Biden’s recently announced federal policy, which would mandate that millions of Americans who fall into certain categories be vaccinated.

Gov. Justice noted that the President's vaccine mandate, which was slated to go into effect on Jan. 4, 2022, has been temporarily blocked by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Friday last week, the Governor commended West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for partnering with several attorneys general from other states in challenging the vaccine mandate.

“I thank our Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for all the good work that he’s done in regard to this,” Gov. Justice said Monday. “I’ve stood rock solid behind the fact that I don’t believe that we ought to be terminating people because they have a legitimate religious or medical exemption.”

The Governor also took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to discuss the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday last week.

“I wish it would have been more of a bill that would have been purely infrastructure, but I can tell you’s been reported that, through this bill, there will be $3.8 billion that will come to West Virginia for infrastructure investments over the next five years, and that’s tremendous,” Gov. Justice said. “From the standpoint of West Virginia’s infrastructure continuing to be built out, that’s what we want to have happen. Believe you me, there are people crying out in every direction in the world that want to come to West Virginia, and we want to make it easier and easier for them to come.”
Additionally, Gov. Justice took time to announce that the last 14.6-mile section of U.S. Route 35 will open to traffic on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, after a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially mark the opening of the road, which will be held at 11:30 a.m.

The event, held on Veterans Day, will also pay tribute to all Veterans and their families in honor of their sacrifice.

“This is a major Roads To Prosperity project that will allow travelers to drive on smooth four-lane road for 37 consecutive miles, beginning at Interstate 64 at Scott Depot and continuing straight through to Point Pleasant and the Ohio state line,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long, long time. 

“I’m excited to invite all West Virginians to tune in or attend this ribbon-cutting celebration,” Gov. Justice continued.

Immediately following the ribbon-cutting, Gov. Justice will lead a parade of vehicles along the new highway all the way to Point Pleasant, then back to Buffalo. All attendees are welcome to join.

The ceremony will be broadcast on West Virginia Public Broadcasting's West Virginia Channel: 
Find your station here (WV Channel column)

The ceremony will also be livestreamed on the Governor’s social media platforms:
YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

If you plan to attend the event in-person, click here for more information.
Gov. Justice also announced that a virtual Veterans Day Ceremony will air online on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, at 11 a.m.

“This event will pay tribute to our Veterans and their families,” Gov. Justice said. “I invite all West Virginians to watch this virtual ceremony.”

The event will feature messages from West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General Bill Crane, West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance Secretary Ted Diaz, and West Virginia Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeff Sandy. The program will also include a performance from the Cabell Midland High School Marching Band and the National Anthem performed by the Winfield High School Show Choir.

The ceremony will be broadcast on the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Channel:
Find your station here (WVPB column)

The ceremony will also be livestreamed on the Governor’s social media platforms:
YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

“It’s a great way to honor and pay tribute to the people that have given us every single thing that we have on this planet,” Gov. Justice said.
Additionally, Gov. Justice announced that he has issued a proclamation, ordering all United States and West Virginia flags at the Capitol Complex and all state-owned facilities statewide be displayed at half-staff, from dawn to dusk tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in commemoration of the distinguished life and service of former West Virginia Speaker of the House Bob Kiss, following his passing last week.

“We lost a great West Virginian and a real friend of mine,” Gov. Justice said during Monday’s briefing. “Bob was a real servant of West Virginia. Please keep him and all of his loved ones in your prayers.”

A member of the West Virginia House of Delegates for 18 years, Kiss served as House Finance Chairman from 1993 to 1996 and Speaker of the House of Delegates from 1997 to 2006. He also served as Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Revenue as part of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration from 2013 to 2016.

Click here to read more / view the proclamation
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